August 10, 2006

Bridging the Gap

So a pretty big part of my job consists of talking to scientists and then translating their research into "real words." Please don't go all deconstruction-y on me here for that terminology. Basically, I make the research lingo accessible to the general public. This is not without its challenges, but it's fun, and I get to learn all about cool science without ever having to balance another chemical equation, so I like it a lot.

The flip side of this is talking to the media and then trying to locate a scientific "expert" on a particular subject for them to interview. This is much harder, because media always want what I call "bare bones" science, and since our faculty are all research scientists, the bare bones science has disappeared under years of complex specialization. In short, it's hard for a lot of these folks to come down to the level that the media wants.

Today is a perfect example. What do the media want? Someone who can talk about "liquid explosives"--what they are, how you make them, etc. What are our faculty members working on?

New synthetic methodologies, strategies for asymmetric synthesis, directed metallation reactions, stereoselective reductions, catalytic asymmetric synthesis, new chiral auxiliaries; Development of nanostructured materials and studies of their electronic and optical properties; metalloprotein (re)engineering via incorporation of unnatural amino acids into enzyme active sites; Development of novel organometallic complexes for catalysis...

You get the idea. Still, it beats applying Lacanian theory to Middlemarch.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at August 10, 2006 11:20 AM

Nobody wants a color expert?

Posted by: Ron Hardin at August 10, 2006 06:02 PM

Sounds like a great job.

Posted by: Emily Nelson at August 10, 2006 09:29 PM